Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Please keep an eye out

My cousin Lorraine has had some bad news. The truck pictured above was stolen from her business. Lorraine says:

Can I ask you all to keep an eye out for it and ask your friends if they could do the same. Yellow IVECO 96 CN 2405, has our company logo on it. That is it in my profile picture. We can't work without it.

Please everyone, keep an eye out and pass the word around.

Friday, October 01, 2010

If Cowen were to go

According to (

"A substantial majority of voters would like to see Taoiseach Brian Cowen stepping down from his post before the next general election, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI."

A quick glance at the rest of the poll is confusing and I'm not sure I agree with how the pollsters phrased the questions. However, if this is how people feel, it flies in the face of opinion of most commentators who feel that the people would not accept a second change of Taoiseach without an election.

I'm not sure how I feel myself. But I do fear that if Cowen were to go and say Lenihan took over without an election, this government's chances to survive would probably increase. And when the next election does then come around, Fianna Fáil could feasibly do quite well. They would sell themselves as the people who cleaned up the mess and with Lenihan as leader, they would claim innocence in making the mess in the first place -- it wasn't us; it was Ahern, McCreevey, Cowen and the PD's who made the mistakes along with bad bankers and ineffective financial regulation. That's not us now; we're a different party.

And it would work. Even if they didn't manage another return to power, Fianna Fáil would not be decimated. And that's my problem with a change in Taoiseach without an election. My vindictive, vengeful side wants to see the complete annihilation of Fianna Fáil for what they've done.

So what does the rest of you think?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Inconsistencies in terms of how we do standardised processes

Listening to today's New at One on Radio 1 today. The feature was about the number of children who have died whilst in state care for the past ten years. It seems the HSE have one figure (24 deaths) which doesn't add up to other estimates. Minister for Children or whatever his title, Andrews set up a review last March to find out the exact number. A newspaper yesterday reported that the number could be as high as 200, which is just horrific. According to the News at One, so far the HSE hasn't sent one file to the review team set up by Andrews. The assistant director for children and family services of the HSE, Phill Garland was on Morning Ireland and I will now attempt a transcription of what he said in relation to all this:

It is quite clear that we have deficits in our system. It is quite clear that we have inconsistencies in terms of how we do standardised processes. We are moving those issues forward in terms of our [something incomprehensible to me] programs consistency. The ombudsman's report absolutely highlighted the deficits. We need to address those and we are in the process of doing those.

What in the name of all that is wholesome does any of that mean? Mr. Garland should be given an award for his phenomenal, almost Joyce-like ability to communicate and convey absolutely nothing, while still using the English language. My favourite bit is, “it is quite clear that we have inconsistencies in terms of how we do standardised processes.”

In case RTÉ has done the man an injustice, I am going now to listen to his full interview from this morning's Morning Ireland.

You can listen to that here – – and today's News at One here –

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Elevator Repair Service Internship Journal, Day ?

So much for posting my internship journal here. The past two weeks and a bit have been crazy busy; I've lots of work to be doing between ERS and my PDT essay.

But I'll get back to speed here in the week ahead.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Elevator Repair Service Internship Journal, Day 1

It's coming on 9am on Saturday and I'm sitting having a coffee in a small coffee shop on E. 4th St. I'm supposed to be meeting Sarah Hughes of ERS at the New York Theater Workshop 4th St. Theater (E. 4th between 2nd Ave. & Bowery) but I'm 45 minutes early.

Today is day one of my internship.

This is my second coffee of the day. I grabbed one in Brooklyn just before getting on the subway. It cost a dollar. My coffee here on 4th St. cost $1.75. That's a 75 cent charge for crossing the river into Manhattan.

Reading National Geographic on the way into the city on the N train (one of my favourite things to do in the world) I came across something that made me sad. And it made me think of my friend Trish and my classmate Sinéad. This issue (April 2010) of National Geographic is a special issue all about water. In an article titled “The Burden of Thirst” by Tina Rosenberg, the writer talks about “the vicious circle of inequality” in much of the developing world and in particular how the vital and laborious work of finding water is almost always done by the women. The bit that really got me was:

Some women in Foro [S.E Ethiopia] came down to the river five times a day – with one or two trips devoted to getting water to make a beer-style home brew for their husbands. When I first came to Foro, some 60 men were sitting in the shade of a metal-roofed building, drinking and talking. It was midmorning. Women, says Binayo [a local woman and mother], “never get five seconds to sit down and rest.

That drives me nuts.

Life's synchronicity came into play as I read these articles about water shortage the world over. I was listening to the new album from Gorillaz on my headphones when, on the last track – Pirate Jet – Albarn sings:

It's all good news now

Because we left the taps


For a hundred years

So drink into the drink

A plastic cup of drink

Drink with a couple

Of people

The plastic creating people

Still connected

To the moment

It began.

It's now 18:56 and on the train back out to my brother's house in Brooklyn.

I saw a lot today. What a lucky man I am. Sarah brought me into the rehearsal room and I was introduced to the director, John Collins and three male actors whose name currently escape me. I was made feel very welcome. I sat down and watched. Later I followed lines for the actors. After lunch, most of the rest of the cast arrived.

ERS are currently working on Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises or Fiesta. They seem to be adopting the script as they go along. It's exhilarating to watch. The book is dialogue-heavy so it lends well to what they are doing. One actor plays the narrator, Jake, the rest play a variety of characters. Narration is kept to a minimum. Music runs throughout. As do sound effects. There is a gorgeous, slightly zany feel to all this. The atmosphere in the rehearsal room is fun and relaxed. Collins and Hughes keep a loose hold on proceedings and the actors play off each other and everyone else (myself included).

I love the sound effects. They're used for background chatter and music in Parisian restaurants; the pouring of drinks (this happens a lot); clinking of glasses; cars; trains; fish jumping in a river. The music is loud and the actors sometimes struggle to be heard over the din. But the sound effects are never apologised for. I love it.

Some of the sound effects are plain daft. Everyone also uses the Sound Bar to augment the multitude of running in-jokes and gags amongst the ensemble so it is sometimes hard to tell if a sound cue is for the play or just for the crack.

And apparently (I don't have all this down yet) the sound technician who was absent today is an actor who also plays the character of Cohn. ERS are showing their Wooster Group roots here; they are bot so much showing us behind the curtain but ripping the curtain to bits.

There is great cultural plundering and mishmashing happening here. Some youTube clip (I assume that's what it was; I only heard the audio) of some wrestler called Nature Bit is a favourite of the ensemble. In particular his crazy whoops that crack everyone up (it is quite funny) and so are mimicked by the actors whenever they start some heavy drinking scenes.

Hemingway's book is set ion Europe in the 20's. ERS's play is set in no particular place and at no particular time. Neither are the people onstage necessarily the characters from the book. Who are they? Where are they? When is this? I ask Collins and he says, “that's what I'm finding out.”

The set consists of loads of chairs and four long tables. And two Sound Bars. I think this is how it'll be on the night.

I'm reading the book right now, had started it in Dublin Airport on Thursday. It all feels more alive to me now.

I have questions from today but I didn't feel quite secure enough yet to ask them. The big question was in relation to what I see to be a difference in how the actors are performing their roles.

The actor playing Jake for example often runs through his lines at a rate of knots. This may be just how he was treating today's rehearsal. Or it may be that this is what works for this type of theatre. And it does work. I don't for a moment imagine him as Jake. He's himself, playing the persona of Jake.

But then, the girl playing the character of Brett is playing her for keeps. I forget who she is and see only the character. And she does this very well – she is an excellent actress and then some. However, the two different approaches jar.

Like I said, I don't yet feel comfortable asking a question about this. Well, not yet.

So that was day 1.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Elevator Repair Service Internship Journal

Well I'm on my way ... I hope.

I'm on the Citylink bus, just arriving into Dublin. I fly out today, assuming no more volcanic nonsense. I was supposed to start my internship with ERS last Monday but have lost a week. I start Monday coming.

Part of the internship is keeping of a journal. It'll be interesting to see if I can post all of this journal here while remaining honest.

Let's see.